Irish Penal Reform Trust

Round up: Community Service as an Alternative to Imprisonment in Ireland

11th October 2017

The Irish Penal Reform Trust, in association with the Irish Criminal Bar Association, was delighted to hold a seminar and launch of a major research study on the operation of community service as an alternative to custodial sanctions in Ireland.

‘Examining the comparative use, experience, and outcomes of community service orders as alternatives to short prison sentences in Ireland’ by Dr Kate O’Hara is the outcome of a 3-year employment-based PhD research project (2013-16), co-funded by the Irish Research Council and IPRT, in association with Dublin Institute of Technology.

Chaired by Judge David Riordan, speakers at the seminar included Dr Kate O’Hara, author of the research; Ms. Maeve Brett, Regional Manager of The Probation Service; Professor Mary Rogan, Trinity College Dublin; and Mr David Perry BL.

The research examined the application of Community Service Orders (CSOs) and short prison sentences across court type and jurisdiction from 2011. The experiences and perceptions of punishment by those who received alternate sanctions were also explored.

Dr O'Hara's PhD is available for download here.

An IPRT Discussion Paper, based on the qualitative findings of the was also published at the event, with key recommendations as to how community service could be better utilised in future. For more information, see here. 

IPRT is grateful to the Bar of Ireland for sponsoring the wine reception following the seminar.

Photos from the event are available on our Flickr here.

Media coverage: 

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